CHAPTER XIV THE COLUMBIA. GLACIER
Location and General Relationships. Glacier Island, which forms the western border of the entrance to Valdez Arm, lies directly in front of Columbia and Long Bays on the north shore of Prince William Sound. Columbia Bay is about three and a half miles wide at the entrance, but broadens to five miles inside, and contains Heather Island and several islets. At the head of the bay, five miles from the entrance, is the Columbia Glacier. In outer Columbia Bay the water is between nine hundred and a thousand feet deep, decreasing to six hundred feet near the glacier. The adjacent mountains rise from 2500 to 5000 feet. Columbia Bay is a broader and less imposing fiord than Port Valdez.
Explorations. The Columbia Glacier, which has also been called Live, Root, and Fremantle Glacier, was seen from the mouth of the bay and indicated roughly upon a map by Whidbey in 1794,1 Applegate in 1887,2 Mahlo in 1898s and Schrader in 1900.4 Whidbey's map suggests that the glacier ended a short distance north of Heather Island in 1794 but does not distinguish the glacier from the land. Applegate's map represents the ice front in about the same position with respect to Heather Island. Mahlo's map does not show Heather Island. Schrader's map shows a small island, but like the other three does not represent the ice front with sufficient accuracy for comparison as to glacier movements. The only fact indicated by these maps is that the glacier was not strikingly different in the years of observation between 1794 and 1900.
Vancouver6 tells of the conditions in 1794, when Whidbey saw Columbia Glacier from near the mouth of Long Bay, east of which was " another bay of rather large dimensions, with an island in its northeast corner . . . terminated by solid body of compact elevated ice, similar to that which has been before described . . . ; as they passed the eastern bay they again heard the thunder-like noise, and found that it had been produced by the falling of the large pieces of ice that appeared to have been very recently separated from the mass extending in vast abundance across the passage . . .insomuch that it was with great difficulty the boats could effect a passage."
i Vancouver, Capt. George, A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World, 1790-1795, Vol. V, London, 1801, pp. 316-17.
1 See map entitled Glaciers No. XI, in Davidson's The Glaciers of Alaska that are Shown on Russian Charts or Mentioned in Older Narratives, Trans, and Froc. Geog. Soc., Pacific, Vol. IQ, 1904.
• Map in pocket in book entitled Reports of Explorations in the Territory of Alaska, War Dept., Adj.-Gen. Office, No. XXV, Washington, 1899; Map No. 8 in Maps and Descriptions of Routes of Exploration in Alaska in 1898, special publication of U. S. Geol. Survey, 1899; Map No. 19, in Twentieth Ann. Rept., U. S. GeoL Survey, 1900, Part VH
1 Plate m in The Geology and Mineral Resources of a Portion of the Copper River District, Alaska, House Doc. 546,56th Congress, 2nd Session, Washington, 1901.
One or another of these sketches of Columbia Glacier is also followed in U. S. Coast and Geod. Survey, Charts 8502 and 8519 and in PI. I, Bull. 327, U. S. Geol. Survey, 1907.
• Op. cit., pp. 316-317.